French local history: Lourdes

What turned a quiet quarry town into a pilgrims’ hotspot: The Connexion reveals how five words changed the history of Lourdes

In the early 19th century, Lourdes was a small, quiet town set around its chateau high on a rocky spur in the Pyrénées.

Its inhabitants worked in nearby marble quarries.

Tourists came to the region from far and wide, but Lourdes was just a stop on the way to the fashionable thermal spas.

Victor Hugo passed by on route to Cauterets in 1843 and the town only merited the briefest of notes in his diary: “Lourdes. Arrivée magique.”

Fourteen ...

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